I’ve slowly started sifting through the reader surveys, and so far I’ve had lots of questions about blogging in general… from my favorite apps to the camera equipment I use on the daily, if you’re wondering what happens behind the scenes- this post is for you! Click through for my favorite tools for blogging, social media, and content creation.
If you’re wondering how it all goes down- or how this content comes to be and is promoted, consider this your peek into my process. I’m not saying it’s the best or only way, but it works for me and I’m definitely in a routine that fits my schedule. Speaking of schedule…
T H E B L O G
I’m going to be honest, I just started scheduling things this year, as in 2018. That’s kind of crazy. Every single blog post up until 2018 was manually made live by yours truly. Granted, I still drafted most of them in advance, but I made my life a lot easier this year by taking advantage of the schedule feature in Wordpress. I think consistency is important, and now I can have posts up at 5:00am EST reaching more of my readers, despite the fact that I live in the Mountain time zone now. Here’s a list of other tools that make my life easier:
- WordPress for scheduling posts.
- Google Calendar for planning content.
- Trello for list making and tasks.
- Bitly for creating short links.
- Sumo for website stats, heat maps, and pop ups.
- Google Analytics for analytics and stats.
- Mailchimp for email blasts.
I try to plan and shoot content at least a week or two in advance if possible. I add tentative blog posts to my Google Calendar as often as I can. Sometimes while renovating, it’s difficult to say when a project will be complete because the unexpected always occurs. I’ve learned that flexibility is key… at least for a blogger that is constantly working on home and client projects.
I get my best ideas in the shower or before bed. Funny, I know. I’m always jotting down posts ideas on paper, then I transfer them to Trello. I’m a big fan of list making and Trello is my go-to for this… especially when it comes to the blog. I have different “tabs” : post ideas, drafted, scheduled, and completed. Each idea moves through the tabs (as the status of the post changes) and eventually becomes a completed task, aka live post.
Sumo is a handy plugin that allows me to view heat maps and see where everyone is clicking. It helps to show me what areas of my website are getting the most action, as well as which posts are performing well. My pop ups are also generated by Sumo (like the email signup option).
F I L E T R A N S F E R
Often times I need to transfer images to clients or brand partners, these are my top 3 tools.
- Dropbox (paid business account)
- WeTransfer (free!)
- Airdrop (when transferring images to / from my iMac to iPhone)
S O C I A L M E D I A
I don’t claim to be a guru when it comes to social media… in fact I tell most of my blogger friends I feel like the grandma or dinosaur of the group. Ha! Here’s a fun fact, I don’t schedule any Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter posts- it all happens in real time. For some reason, I prefer to do it this way. It feels more organic and it’s easier for me to post on the fly than schedule in advance. I’m pretty sure that’s not the norm though. Is it more work? Yes, but it feels the most authentic with my schedule and brand.
In addition to pinning organically (in real time), Pinterest is my exception. I do schedule pins in advance. Why? I like to browse the internet and pin my own inspiration in real time, however- like most people… I go off on a tangent and 400 pins later I’m spamming you guys. Scheduling releases the pins over a set time period so you don’t get 150 front door images all at once (you’re welcome). I’m pretty much always pinning, because let’s get real- Pinterest is genius and addicting. It’s by far my favorite social media outlet, and most of the traffic directed to my blog comes from Pinterest. I’ve made it a goal to focus more on this platform because it makes me happy and works well for me (and I’ve become frustrated with the ever changing Instagram algorithm).
I’ve had other bloggers ask what app I use to create my branded Instagram stories (shown above). Do you guys notice / like them? It’s a great way to promote blog posts and content without having to make an entire video. I also think it’s a way to say, “hey, here’s something new… read it if it interests you”… without being too in-your-face. It’s a take or leave it sort of thing. Long story short, sadly there is no app for those story templates. I make all of those myself using Adobe Illustrator. My background is in graphic design, so I made 20-30 templates, then populate the content everyday.
E Q U I P M E N T
Obviously shooting and creating original content is key. Quality photos are SO important in this industry, and shooting with an SLR is pretty standard for bloggers today. I’m a Nikon gal, myself. I have been since my first photography courses in college.
Check out my equipment list below:
- Nikon D750 (see my entire camera breakdown here– complete with lenses)
- WMU App for Nikon (this allows you to remotely capture an image from your phone)
- Tripod (best tripod ever)
- Canon D7 Mark II Video Camera (my ONLY Canon exception)
- Lapel Mic
- Adobe Creative Suite (primarily Photoshop and Illustrator)
- External Hard Drive (backing things up is SO important)
- Wacom Tablet (my favorite tool for photo editing – size medium)
- Backdrops (a white roll for shooting products or field tile for food & drink shots)
- iMac and MacBook Air (I have an iPad, but never use it… obviously I also have an iPhone)
I could talk all day about the list above, but I think it’s pretty self explanatory. I’m just getting into video this year (another goal of mine), but everything else I’ve been using for a very long time. Backdrops, like a white roll, or large format field tile make it easy to create a vignette regardless of the backdrop in your home. Having a terrible kitchen throughout 2017… how did you think I got shots like this and this? Giant tile… it definitely wasn’t my countertop or backsplash.
If you’re wondering about the excessive amount of Apple devices, I took LOTS of courses about technology and media use in college. Did you know the average person can only effectively maintain and be efficient on 2 media devices? I’ve found that to be true. Do you have two primary devices? For me, it’s my computer and phone. I hardly ever use my iPad.. and when I do, it sort of feels foreign or like I haven’t unleashed it’s full potential. All of this to say, having ALL of that stuff isn’t necessary. I just sort of accumulated it over the years.
The last item I get a ton of questions about is the blog graphics I share, such as roundups, collages, and templates. I’ve already mentioned my BFA in graphic design, but let me know if you guys are interested in learning more about my process in creating specific things like that. I feel like it’s pretty detailed info that might require a video tutorial because the software is technical if you’re not familiar with it.
M Y S H O P
If you’re interested in getting into e-commerce or selling things through your blog, here’s what I currently use for my little shop.
- WooCommerce for inventory, pricing, management, payment, etc.
- Shipstation for shipping labels and calculations.
- Fedex or USPS for actual shipping.
Do you guys want more posts about blogging? How about posts on Interior Design or other interior related software (Studio Webware, etc.)? I’m happy to do a Q&A or answer any questions. If so, what are some other post ideas you’d like to see? Comment below! If this wasn’t your cup of tea, I’ll be back with an interior related post tomorrow!